Holiday wine and food pairings: white wines

The Best Sommelier in Italy tells Identità Golose which wines you shouldn’t miss. Second episode

Second episode in Identità Golose’s series dedi

Second episode in Identità Golose’s series dedicated to the wines to be paired with holiday dishes, thanks to the recommendations of the Best Sommelier in Italy, Andrea Galanti, who was voted little over one month ago, as we said here. After bubbles, it is now the turn of white wines

We cannot find ourselves unprepared for the approaching holidays. It is therefore right to prepare the best wines to be paired with traditional dishes. After speaking about the ideal bubbles, here are a few tips with regards to white wines.

From the slopes of Alto Adige in Val Venosta one of the most thrilling Rieslings in the Italian scene is born, namely Falkenstein. With freshness, minerality and aromatic hydrocarbon which characterise and enhance its evolution, it is perfectly paired with wild smoked salmon.

Moving to Friuli, on the banks of river Isonzo, one of the most charming wineries is Lis Neris. With their riserva Lis they represent the best selection of Chardonnay, Pinot grigio and Sauvignon blanc grapes, all coming from vineyards that are over 25 years old. The wine is fermented and matured in tonneau for over a year, followed by a long refining in bottle before sales; it has an intense and complex aroma which leads to the round, fresh palate with long finish and terroir notes, and marked by elegance. Produced only in the best vintages, I’d recommend it with capon stuffed with herbs and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Moving to Campania, Fiano di Avellino is the real king and Guido Marsella’s take is excellent. It is out almost two years after its harvest with at least 20 months of refining in steel tanks and bottle. Complex nose, smoky notes, freshness and charming minerality lead to the long and elegant finish. These bottles are not afraid of time, in fact they wait in joy because only after years of waiting they express their best qualities. Try it with a Christmas traditional recipe such as marinated capon.

Tortellini served in broth is a must-have classic holiday dish. Why not try it with a wine that goes beyond the usual regional pairings? Here’s an alternative: Castello di Monsanto’s Chardonnay, born on the slopes of Barberino Val d’Elsa for the first time in 1990. The Bianchi family gives this wine a pleasant roundness thanks to the ageing in used (once or twice) wood barrels, resulting in a Chardonnay full of freshness and structure.

Another must for the holidays is the culinary panettone, which is divided in various soft layers all filled with sauces and salami, or cheese and herbs and again fish based fillings. I’d recommend a wine that is characterised by strong freshness, persistence and perhaps even a delicate roundness, to balance the often-aromatic character of the panettone. The area of the Soave Classico offers these characteristics, perhaps a selection from one of the crus in which a longer refining on the lees takes place, as in tradition; the 100% Garganega wine produced by Dal Cero, Vigneto Runcata, is an excellent example of this.

See also: "Holiday wine and food pairings: sparkling wines"


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